Iran: May 25, 2002


: The US government insists that Iran is working hard to develop nuclear and biological weapons. Chemical weapons were developed during the 1980s. Russia has promised to limit it's technical assistance (for building a nuclear power reactor) so that nuclear weapons technology is not transferred. Russia has an incentive to do this, as Russia is fighting Islamic radicals in Chechnya and it is the Islamic radicals in Iran who are behind the nuclear and biological weapons programs. 

Meanwhile, the Islamic radicals and conservatives continue to lose ground in Iran. The majority of the population is becoming increasingly disenchanted with the harsh rule of the religious conservatives. The younger generation are resisting the religious police, sometimes violently. The religious conservatives know that if it came to a civil war, they would probably lose. But so far, the 80 percent of Iranians that disapprove of the religious conservatives are content to change things peacefully, one small act at a time. However, the unemployment rate is 13 percent (and twice that for kids coming out of high school or college) and the economic problems are blamed on the religious conservatives. Both conservative and reform minded politicians fear an outbreak of violence that spirals out of